A Prayer Before the Day of Prayer & Fasting

Almighty God and Father of us all—"Hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom Come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9-10). For You are the Omnipotent One whose strong hand still guides a billion billion galaxies in their soundless trek (Psalm 147:4), and yet each morning You eagerly bend low to hear the chirping gratitude of the tiny sparrows (Luke 12:7). And if You feed the birds of the air, dear Father, how much more will You care for us, who are Your children? (Matthew 6:26) As the psalmist Himself sang, teach us to sing, "I will bless the Lord at all times—Your praise shall continually be in my mouth!" (Psalm 34:1)

But dear God, it is because You have "loved us with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3), that we come humbly to You in advance of our collective Day of Prayer and Fasting. Have mercy on us, O Lord. For like our fathers and mothers, we have sinned against You (Daniel 9:4-10). We have turned to the gods of this world hoping to satisfy our appetites and slake our many thirsts (1 John 2:15-17). Like Israel of old, we have emulated the corrupted culture around us (Hosea 4:17). We have joined the clamoring rabble, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15)—but dear Savior, we admit and confess Satan has deceived us and Caesar has enslaved us. How can we then cry out for the demolishing of his strongholds out there without first pleading for Your deliverance from the dark strongholds in here? You have promised, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). O Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, remove our sins, too, we implore You (John 1:29). Cleanse us, and we will be clean—wash us, and we will be whiter than the snow that fell this springtime week (Psalm 51:7). We must hear the Gospel's assurance, "Neither do I condemn You—go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11).

Forgiven and freed, we take courage now to boldly come before Your throne of grace with petitions for this Day of Prayer and Fasting (Hebrews 4:16). "For the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4). And so Almighty God, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, we come with the weapon of prayer against the strongholds of our mortal enemy, the fallen Lucifer and his demonic hosts of angels (Ephesians 6:12). We possess no power of our own, but we come boldly in the might of Him who "made a public spectacle of [Satan and his hosts], triumphing over them by the cross"(Colossians 2:15).

We come on behalf of people who don't even know they are enchained in the enemy's stronghold (1 Peter 4:18-19). On this Day of Prayer and Fasting we call upon You, Father of all humankind, to deliver the masses ignorantly held in these enemy strongholds:

• We pray for Japan (the Land of the Rising Sun) and boldly claim the promise that the Sun of Righteousness will yet rise with healing in His light (Malachi 4:2)—may the 163 evangelistic events to be conducted there in May "proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners" (Isaiah 61:1);

• We pray for the secular West, where atheism and paganism's iron-fisted grip pins both young and old in their strongholds—may the cry of Creation's angels—"Worship Him who made heaven and earth"—be heard in the halls of academia, the corridors of politics and power (Revelation 14:7);

• We pray against the stronghold of racism in our country, on our campus and in our church—break down the egotism (self-worship) that lies coiled and deadly in the heart of all racism, and answer the prayer of our Lord—"That they may be one as We are one, O Father, I in them and You in Me, so that they may be brought to complete unity"(John 17:22-23)—so that as we humbly but radically love one another "everyone will know" that we are Your disciples (John 13:34-35).

And one more request, dear God. Would you please grant to us a visible sign that You have heard our prayers and have already begun to answer them (Isaiah 65:24). After all, You promised us, "In the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all people" (Acts 3:17). Send us that sign as a divine token that the strongholds we go against in the name of Christ are already beginning to crumble.

"O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name . . . deliver us . . . for Your name's sake!" (Psalm 79:9) So that one day "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11).